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A bold new exploration that answers the most commonly asked questions about the Holocaust.Despite the outpouring of books, movies, museums, memorials, and courses devoted to the Holocaust, a coherent explanation of why such ghastly carnage erupted from the heart of civilized Europe in the twentieth century still seems elusive even seventy years later. Numerous theories have sprouted in an attempt to console ourselves and to point the blame in emotionally satisfying directions -- yet none of them are fully convincing. As witnesses to the Holocaust near the ends of their lives, it becomes that much more important to unravel what happened and to educate a new generation about the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime on Jews and non-Jews alike.Why? dispels many misconceptions and answers some of the most basic -- yet vexing -- questions that remain: why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn't more Jews fight back more often? Why didn't they receive more help? While responding to the questions he has been most frequently asked by students over the decades, world-renowned Holocaust historian and professor Peter Hayes brings a wealth of scholarly research and experience to bear on conventional, popular views of the history, challenging some of the most prominent recent interpretations.

About the Author

Peter Hayes

Peter Hayes holds degrees from Bowdoin, Oxford, and Yale and was from 1980 to 2016 Professor of History and German and from 2000 to 2016 Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor at Northwestern University. His publications have won several prizes and been translated into French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish. His acclaimed study of IG Farben, Industry and Ideology, received the Biennial Book Prize from the Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. In his monumental history of the Nazi economy entitled The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze called Industry and Ideology "the best book on IG, indeed the best book on business in the Third Reich." Hayes has long supported the work of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, notably in preparing How Was It Possible? A Holocaust Reader, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he currently chairs the Academic Committee. Also an award-winning teacher, he lectures widely on German and Holocaust history in the United States and abroad.

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